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Notes and Queries, Number 38, July 20, 1850   By:

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"When found, make a note of." CAPTAIN CUTTLE.

No. 38.] SATURDAY, JULY 20, 1850 [Price Threepence. Stamped Edition 4d.



NOTES: Meaning of Delighted as used by Shakspeare, by S. Hickson Authors of "The Rolliad," by Lord Braybrooke Notes on Milton Derivation of Easter, by J. Sansom Folk Lore Passages of Death, by Dr. Guest Divination at Marriages Francis Lenton the Poet, by Dr. Rimbault Minor Notes: Lilburn or Prynne Peep of Day Martinet Guy's Porridge Pot QUERIES: Nicholas Ferrar of Little Gidding, by John Miland Stukeley's "Stonehenge," by Henry Cunliffe Athelstane's Form of Donation Meaning of "Somagia," by J. Sansom Minor Queries: Charade "Smoke Money" "Rapido contrarius orbi" Lord Richard Christophilus Fiz gigs Specimens of Erica in Bloom Michael Scott the Wizard Stone Chalices REPLIES: Ulrich von Hutten and the "Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum," by S.W. Singer Caxton's Printing office, by J.G. Nichols The New Temple Strangers in the House of Commons Replies to Minor Queries: Morganatic Marriage Umbrellas Bands Scarf Jewish Music North Sides of Churchyards unconsecrated "Men are but Children" &c. Ventriloquism Cromwell's Estates Magor Vincent Gookin All to brake MISCELLANEOUS: Notes on Books, Sales, Catalogues, Sales, &c. Books and Odd Volumes Wanted Notices to Correspondents Advertisements



I wish to call attention to the peculiar use of a word, or rather to a peculiar word, in Shakspeare, which I do not recollect to have met with in any other writer. I say a "peculiar word," because, although the verb To delight is well known, and of general use, the word, the same in form, to which I refer, is not only of different meaning, but, as I conceive, of distinct derivation the non recognition of which has led to a misconception of the meaning of one of the finest passages in Shakspeare. The first passage in which it occurs, that I shall quote, is the well known one from Measure for Measure :

"Ay, but to die, and go we know not where; To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot, This sensible warm motion to become A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside In thrilling regions of thick ribbed ice; To be imprison'd in the viewless winds And blown with restless violence round about The pendant world." Act iii. Sc. 1.

Now, if we examine the construction of this passage, we shall find that it appears to have been the object of the writer to separate, and place in juxtaposition with each other, the conditions of the body and the spirit, each being imagined under circumstances to excite repulsion or terror in a sentient being. The mind sees the former lying in "cold obstruction," rotting, changed from a "sensible warm motion" to a "kneaded clod," every circumstance leaving the impression of dull, dead weight, deprived of force and motion. The spirit, on the other hand, is imagined under circumstances that give the most vivid picture conceivable of utter powerlessness:

"Imprison'd in the viewless winds, And blown with restless violence round about The pendant world."

To call the spirit here "delighted," in our sense of the term, would be absurd; and no explanation of the passage in this sense, however ingenious, is intelligible. That it is intended to represent the spirit simply as lightened , made light, relieved from the weight of matter, I am convinced, and this is my view of the meaning of the word in the present instance.

Delight is naturally formed by the participle de and light , to make light, in the same way as "debase," to make base, "defile," to make foul... Continue reading book >>

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